Top tips on how to remember second language vocabulary

remember second language vocabulary

One of the big challenges when learning a foreign language is finding the best ways to remember second language vocabulary.


There will be masses of new vocabulary to digest and memorize and it takes time, patience, diligence, and organisation to build up a good repertoire.


As always with anything related to foreign language learning the key is studying without really studying and keeping yourself fresh and motivated because you are enjoying learning.


Reading a dictionary, cover to cover, night after night, is not the way to remember second language vocabulary. Neither is writing down every new word that you hear or read. You will very quickly go slightly mad with boredom and it would be a miracle if you remember more than a handful of new words.


Foreign language learning is about being consistent and well prepared with sound planning for the long haul. Planning that is geared to making your studies as enjoyable as possible.


But don´t think too much about the ins and outs of what you are doing. The most important thing is to get stuck into immersing yourself in your second language, anyway you find most comfortable.


If you give yourself time and are relaxed and genuinely interested you will find it a piece of cake to remember second language vocabulary.


So let’s take a look at a few top fun sustainable ways to remember second language vocabulary:


  • Put up post-it notes all around your house labelling everyday items in your second language.
  • Have the radio or music playing regularly in the background so that you are subconsciously picking up a constant stream of vocabulary whilst you toe tap along.
  • Watch TV even if you don’t understand it. If you stick at it, you will be amazed how much more you understand one month on.
  • Make flashcards with new words you learn on the back and a picture representation on the front. See if you can remember the word only by looking at the pictures.
  • Use simple children’s songs and nursery rhymes to hook words to melodies which are easier for us to remember.
  • Do lots of reading. Source material at your level. If you are a beginner, try comics, children’s books or level-specific story study books. Most importantly find material that you find genuinely interesting.
  • Play word board games like Scrabble or Boggle.
  • Do crosswords and word searches.
  • Use some of the many vocabulary-learning online games and apps.


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